Petit Le Mans IMSA, H2: Bourdais leads Nasr, Corvettes head GTLM

The JDC Miller Motorsports Cadillac of Sebastien Bourdais leads Petit Le Mans after two hours, while the Corvettes run 1-2 in the final ever GTLM-class event.

Petit Le Mans IMSA, H2: Bourdais leads Nasr, Corvettes head GTLM
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Felipe Nasr made a strong start from pole in the Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, chased by Harry Tincknell in the Mazda RT24-P. Dropping back in third was Dane Cameron’s Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05, and Kamui Kobayashi in the second AXR car. It was Sebastien Bourdais of JDC Miller Motorsports who lost out, dropping to fifth but still ahead of Wayne Taylor Racing’s Acura driven by Filipe Albuquerque and Renger van der Zande in the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac.

Then on Lap 10, Van der Zande outbraked the points leader for sixth place, but over the next 10 laps Albuquerque re-passed the Ganassi Caddy, while Kobayashi moved into third ahead of Cameron.

Tincknell had pitted just before the caution flag flew at the 39min mark, so once the full field pitted under caution, he was able to pit again for a splash of fuel and move into the lead ahead of Nasr. Up to third was the Ganassi Cadillac of Van der Zande ahead of Kobayashi, Albuquerque, Bourdais and Cameron down in seventh.

On the restart, Tincknell sprinted away at the drop of the green, and that caught out Nasr who fell behind van der Zande. While Kobayashi was considering demoting his teammate, he came under pressure from Albuquerque and had to cede fourth place to the Wayne Taylor Racing Acura.

With one hour and 40 laps under his wheels, Tincknell’s lead over van der Zande was out to 6sec, the pair of them ahead of title fighters Nasr and Albuquerque, while Kobayashi was down to sixth, behind Bourdais.

In fact it was Kobayashi who caused the second caution 70mins in when he rubbed up against a GTD Audi and left debris on the track. The subsequent stops saw Nasr emerge ahead of Bourdais and Albuquerque, with van der Zande down to fourth and the Mazda – now driven by Jonathan Bomarito – down in fifth ahead of Cameron. Jimmie Johnson took over from Kobayashi and ran seventh.

When Nasr lost momentum in GT traffic on lap 67 (8h12m to go), Bourdais moved the JDC Miller car into the lead and swiftly pulled an eight second gap, leaving Nasr to come under pressure from Van Der Zande who had deposed Albuquerque. Behind them, Cameron passed Bomarito for fifth as they went through traffic, but the pair stayed locked together.

LMP2 and LMP3

Ben Keating’s PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports entry led Steven Thomas in WIN Autosport’s car by nine seconds after 15mins, with Dwight Merriman a further five seconds back in the Era Motorsport car.

However, Merriman caused the first full-course yellow after 39mins when he went off line to let a trio of DPi cars through at Turn 12 and drifted off the track and crashed coming onto the pit straight.

The second caution saw United Autosport jump Jim McGuire into the class lead ahead of Keating and John Farano third in the Tower Motorsports car ahead of Tristan Nunez in the WIN machine. But the third caution swiftly followed the second when Keating rammed into another car and needed to pit for a new nose.

After two hours, Nunez led the field ahead of Farano and the recovering Keating.

As expected after qualifying, the LMP3 battle in the early stage of the race was purely Niklas Kruetten of United Autosports versus Rasmus Lindh in the Performance Tech Motorsports entry, with Josh Skelton trying to keep them in sight but falling 10sec down. Under the Merriman-caused caution, WIN Autosport moved up to second with Naveen Rao at the wheel, while Dan Goldburg took over from Lindh. Goldburg would come off worse in a battle with Jarett Andretti, however, and spun into the Turn 10 gravel.

Following the second caution, CORE autosport put Jon Bennett into the lead ahead of Andretti with Kruetten in third, but Rao got rammed and had to limp the Performance Tech car round to the pits and lost a lap.

At the completion of two hours, Kruetten led for United ahead of the two Riley Motorsports cars of Gar Robinson and Jim Cox, with Goldburg’s Performance Tech car in fourth.

GT Le Mans

Jesse Krohn kept his pole-sitting #24 BMW M8 in front, with Matt Campbell’s WeatherTech Racing/Proton Porsche 911 RSR second and under pressure from Antonio Garcia in the #3 Corvette C8.R, Frederic Makowiecki in the second 911, Connor De Phillippi in the second BMW and Nick Tandy in the second Corvette.

Following the first caution, however, the Corvettes moved into first and second, Garcia ahead of Tandy, while Krohn dropped to third ahead of the two Porsches, Cooper MacNeil taking over the #79 car and emerging ahead of Makowiecki. The second caution saw Tandy exit the pits ahead of Garcia with Makowiecki up to third ahead of Augusto Farfus now in the #24 BMW, MacNeil and the #25 BMW now with Bruno Spengler at the wheel. At the next restart, Farfus jumped up to third, while MacNeil dropped to sixth.

But then Makowiecki got a left-rear puncture – fortunately toward the end of the lap – and had to limp to the pits and handed off to Kevin Estre.

GT Daytona

Madison Snow retained his advantage from pole in the Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan, leading Robby Foley’s Turner Motorsports BMW M6 with Frankie Montecalvo in the Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F in third.

Fourth ran the Inception Racing McLaren 720S driven by Frederik Schandorff, with Daniel Morad’s Alegra Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3 and Zacharie Robichon’s Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R in sixth.

Sadly Wright Motorsports’ 911 was a victim again, Trent Hindman picking up a left-rear puncture from contact on the opening lap and dropping two laps back as he limped through a whole lap.

After pitting under caution, Snow and Foley remained up front but Alegra’s Mercedes – now driven by Michael De Quesada – came out in third, although he fell behind the two Lexus RC Fs of the charging Kyle Kirkwood and Montecalvo following the restart. Meanwhile up front, Foley got ahead of Snow and pulled out a 7sec gap in just three laps.

The second caution closed everyone up and following their second pitstops, Grasser Racing got the #19 Lamborghini Huracan of Misha Goikhberg out into the class lead ahead of the Lexuses of Kirkwood and Montecalvo, with Snow in fourth ahead of Aidan Read in the Turner BMW. However, following the second restart, Read surged forward into third ahead of Montecalvo and Snow.

And that became second a lap later when Goikhberg lost momentum and ceded the lead to Kirkwood and second to Read. Two laps after that, Montecalvo made it a Lexus 1-3.

A different Lamborghini had far bigger problems approaching the completion of the second hour, as Snow’s Paul Miller car got tangled up with the spun LMP3 car of Mark Kvamme. The Huracan sustained front-right damage pushing the bodywork onto the tire, and then when Snow pitted, the right-rear wheel refused to come off the hub so the car had to be taken behind the wall.

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